The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Falls

    12
  • Burns

    4
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Groped

    2
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Groped

    9
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Beaten

    3
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1